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Greenbelt, Maryland – Maria Espinal, age 53, of Montgomery Village, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to aiding and assisting in filing false tax returns and aggravated identity theft.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division; Special Agent in Charge Kelly R. Jackson of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; and Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Maria Espinal owned and operated a tax return preparation business located in Gaithersburg, Maryland. From 2011 through 2017, Maria Espinal prepared and filed fraudulent tax returns on behalf of her clients with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Comptroller of Maryland that claimed tax refunds to which the clients were not entitled. To generate a fraudulent refund, Espinal altered legitimate Forms W-2 in the names of third parties and replaced the third party’s name with her client’s name. As a result, her client claimed the third-party’s withholdings as his or her own, which generated fraudulent tax refunds.